Feral Children
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Feral Children

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | SELF

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | SELF
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May
20
Feral Children @ Amigos Cantina - The Famines and Feral Children

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Apr
24
Feral Children @ Amigos Cantina - Violent kin and Feral Children

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Apr
17
Feral Children @ German Concordia Club - VIVEFEST - Women, Eamon MAcgrath and Feral Children

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Music

Press


t seems like so long ago now that Feral Children -- which had up until late 2009 been the solo project of Saskatoon musician Ryan Davidson -- developed into a fully-formed four-piece band. Initially featuring Davidson on guitars, loops and vocals, Will Kaufold on Guitar, Sarah Charters on Bass and Nathan Youngs on drums, the band immediately exploded, adapting Davidson’s solo material with equal parts edge-of-insanity psych-rock power and frantic melodic groove. Since then, Youngs amicably left the band and was replaced by local multi-instrumentalist Bennett Dobni. Dobni was able to adopt some of the drum looping and sampling that Feral Children has become known for, giving Davidson more ability to embrace his role as frontman.

There have been many releases under the Feral Children banner, but now with the band in tow, the brand new self-titled, self-released album distinctly starts a new chapter in the FC book. It provides the perfect introductory point for those previously unfamiliar with the band, and a great gateway into Davidson's solo back catalogue.

The album starts off slow-and-steadily with lead track “Brand New Wave,” though with Davidson’s ferocious approach to vocals, the pace feels no less than fevered. Things really get going from there with the beat-driven, melodic and downright danceable “Free Fantasy” to the more aggressive, Sonic Youth-tinged “2012” and the previously seven-inch-released track, “Reverb.”

This is the point where other ‘stand-out’ tracks would be mentioned, but it's hard when they all jump off the record in their own way. Whether they are dancefloor-ready, beat-filled jams or slow-burning psychedelic explorations (“So Far,” “This Is Where The Sun Is Now”), Feral Children has the uncanny ability to burn each melody and tune firmly on your brain, an affliction with only one cure: press play again. - Jay Allen - CFCR.ca


Climate change, economic meltdowns and — as of the end of October — seven billion humans occupying the earth. It’s a damn scary world out there, and you don’t need a shaman to tell you that the future isn’t any kind of glorious promise anymore — it’s a threat. The faster the information highway steers us to the doorstep of awareness, the closer we seem to be screaming towards ignorant oblivion.

But for some of us, music is the little shit disturber with the slingshot that squares off, against all odds, against the massive horrors of this stupid life — and increasingly, Saskatoon’s Feral Children are becoming a crucial cog in the soundtrack of our salvation.

“We are all feral children,” says Feral Children’s main brain, Ryan Scott Davidson. “[We’re all] mad cats; terrified and looking for a reference point. Feral Children lets people feel like themselves again — they forget about money and global warming and find their own infinite groove inside our loops. I think that's why people are digging it.”

In my opinion, Feral Children are one of the most important new bands in Canada. The original FC recordings were the bedroom musings of Davidson, a series of self-taught experiments in looping and noise, with happy accidents forming the edges. Now a proper band, they’re evolving; if their previous work is confused protozoa dwelling in murky primordial ooze, then their new, self-titled album — two years in the making — sprouts legs to walk on land, a purpose slowly forming in the design.

“[The new album] was meticulous — more calculated, and well prepared,” explains Davidson. “The songs were studied and filtered through five incredible musicians who either recorded, edited, played or mixed. I was truly lucky to have the people I had: I bring the initial spark and the band takes hold, turning it into a very large fire. The band is able to bring an intensity that is unparalleled. The meaning and purpose of the [songs become] all the more potent.”

Having a full band gives Davidson the opportunity to focus on his guitars and vocals, especially in a live setting. It was always his vision driving this project forward, now it’s literally his amazing and charismatic vocal performance that pushes the boundaries. The songs themselves are a whirl of hypnotic loops, psychedelic white guitar noise, and primal melodies, with Davidson hollering and whooping like the last sane man trying to bring the mad population back from the brink — or perhaps, a madman trying to bring the sane down with him. And yet, in some perverse way, Feral Children is also a pop band — even with everything going on here, there are no shortage of hooks and melodies to latch on to.

“I think our music is being accepted despite being ‘weird,' because we’re pushing what pop music sounds like,” says Davidson. “Through our love of experimenting with contemporary sounds, we find moods and an energy people are wanting to feel in music. People want something new and exciting. It’s slowly being accepted because we believe in and love our music. We see the joy and the fun and the meaning — and therefore, so do others.”

Feral Children is the stone from the slingshot, flung through time, striking down that which we fear the most. Or maybe it’s just some shit that’s really fun to dance to. Either way, it takes us from being those terrified alley cats to entities making sense of the world — if only for the fleeting length of a jam.

“[Feral Children want to provide] a source of lost reservation, freedom of soul to roam, and being proud without social anxiety,” says Davidson. “Music does that to people. When the music's good we smile and only feel something holy and pure, sacred and ancient. It’s relaxed enlightenment. I want to transcend who I am and bring others with me.” - Craig Silliphant - Planet S magazine


These days, Ryan Davidson is happy. The 25-year-old Saskatoon-based musician is recently married. He’s also recently a father — his son is barely eight months old. Davidson is happy, and you can hear it in his music.

Davidson is the brains behind one of Saskatoon’s most celebrated bands, Feral Children. Thier music is ethereal and undeniably psychedelic. It’s layered and intense, but these days it’s also upbeat and, for lack of better word, simply happy.

“The last show we played at Amigos was really emotionally satisfying for me because everyone’s faces had a huge a smile on it and everyone was bobbing around,” Davidson said in an interview. “It was not about what kind of jeans are you wearing, what kind of hairstyle you have, whether or not you have the side of your head shaved or any of that. It doesn’t even matter if this band is cool or not, it’s just really fun to experience.”

Feral Children’s new self-titled record that comes out on Nov. 4 is a kind of re-imagining for the band. Feral Children started as Davidson’s bedroom solo project — himself, his guitar, a sampler, a loop pedal and drum machine. But this new record is a kind of re-imagining for the band. Not only has Davidson expereinced some real-life changes in his personal life, it’s also the first time he’s recorded with a full band.

Davidson attributes a large part of his band’s feel to his fellow band members, Bennett Dobny, Will Kaufeld and Sarah Charters. He said things got a lot less introspective when more people started playing and collaborating on songs.

“I never used to think it was possible to get a whole band involved just because of the way I make my music, but it’s pretty ridiculous how far this has come,” he said.

Davidson still writes most of the songs — the loops, the hooks and layers — but his fellow bandmates have started helping with the arrangements, the mixing, and the sampling. And Davidson said it feels good to know more people than him are invested in the project.

“I feel like it means something to someone other than me, which makes it mean even more to me in a weird way,” he said.

“It used to be that I just made music that I hoped people would like, but now I have three individuals who are really committed to it and who feel really proud of what we’ve done and what we are doing.”

The difference can really be seen in their live show. Before the band was with him on stage, Davidson says he was too busy with drum machines and loops and keeping the one-man-band show going that he didn’t notice the audience or have as much fun.

Even though the new record won’t officially be released for a few weeks, the band has been performing the new stuff on stage for a long time — and you can certainly hear the difference.

“It’s way more fun for me live, because I’m not so strapped down to making my beats and making loops. There are more bodies on stage, more energy. It seems like it connects with people way more,” he said.

The record’s official release will be at Amigos on November 4, but fans who want a sneak pick can start searching through independent record store shelves now. Davidson says he plans on sneaking a few into discs into some local stores for fans to find before the actual album is released.


- Charles Hamilton - The Starphoenix


" I spent the first few minutes cruising around apologizing for my tardiness and then settled in for a cheese and Bacon-dog and some of Ryan Davidson and company’s immersive next level psych. They really manage to bring a refreshing almost alien energy to a corner of sound often devoid of energy at all. Davidson’s powerful voice especially seems to spin so recklessly with passion that Feral Children are a beast I keep my eye on rather than zone out to.. It’s an almost redundant observation, but the name really does say it all." - Skot Hamilton - Skot Hamilton for CFCR.com


"Feral Children is the 2009 electronic Tim Buckley; a forward-thinking, genre-hybridization of trends existing in the ethers of our musical consciousness. Where Tim Buckley channeled jazz, folk, and psychedelia to produce “emotional bellowing from the depths of a drug vortex” (dr. lloyd - waxidermy), Feral Children interpolates the fluxes of psychedelic-pop brewing on the borders of electronic music. His new songs are poppier, thicker, and voluminous; yet they conjure the same looping-pedal+drum-machine pop-lysergia present on his first album - now with more low-end, more psych, and more dance. It’s a welcomed progression we rarely see on sophomore albums. A+++++++, fast shipping, will listen again." - WEIRDCANADA.COM - weirdcanada.com


"Viewing the Feral Children spectacle is a truly singular experience; emotional bellowing from the bottoms of a psychedelic vortex. Creating detailed lysergic textures on the fly with the usage of a looping pedal and sampler whilst strumming his uniquely tuned, de-strung guitar. This album got heavy play while I was finishing my thesis, putting out a record, and working full-time. I managed to avoid dropping acid but the album was a certified trip each time I took a break from hell to listen. Highly recommended. A top release from 2008." - WEIRDCANADA.COM - weirdcanada.com


"If you’ve ever seen Ryan Davidson (a.k.a. Feral Children) perform, you’ve watched the life cycle of a cosmic organism; layers upon layers of unsullied resonance and yearning psychedelic beauty. Now surrounded by a trio of musicians, Davidson has a freshly decadent invitation to discovery. A-side “Reverb” (re: BANGER) sublimates into a driving, noisy cluster of Britannian modernity. “Ancient Videotape” is a slow, virgin treasure awash on vespertine beaches — submerged, languished and innocent. The very first (of hopefully many more) releases from Saskatoon’s Leaning Trees Records" - Jared Majeski - weirdcanada.com


"Saskatoon’s Feral Children began inauspiciously as the lo-fi bedroom project of Ryan Davidson. Harbouring electro-loops with a Spock-like stoicism of etherealness, the otherworldly pop sounds would suddenly bow to Davidson’s psyched-out screams of “KHAN!” without the heavy-weighted dramatics of William Shatner. Heady stuff, but on their first recording as a full band, Feral Children have released their most realized album to date.
Capturing the atmosphere of a drugged-out house party and making it howl with too-loud guitars and malfunctioning strobe lights, Feral Children takes sound collages and tosses them fitfully onto the floor with a howl and a yelp. However, kicky dance beats and unassuming bass lines somehow manage to keep the aural mess contained to one room." - Chris Morin - Chris Morin - Ominocity.com


Kids Gone Wild

FERAL CHILDREN A UNIQUE ENTITY IN LOCAL SCENE
by Craig Silliphant

FERAL CHILDREN
Thursday 25
Empyreal Building

As it’s grown over the years, Saskatoon’s music scene has gained a well-deserved reputation for the diversity of bands, sounds and genres it contains — but even still, when I finally got a chance to see Feral Children opening for Golden Smoke a few weeks back, I was pleasantly surprised. This truly is a band that’s doing something unique in these parts.

Feral Children sound like something that might have come out of the UK, Brooklyn or Portland — in other words, somewhere where the critical mass of smart musicians industriously pushing boundaries and mashing styles together is large enough to produce a new and exciting sound.

Originally a solo vehicle for Ryan Scott Davidson, the seeds of Feral Children were planted when Davidson’s grandfather passed away, leaving him an acoustic guitar and a bottle cap pick-up. Though he had been playing drums for a few years, Davidson was looking to try his hand at singing — and creating something wild.

After discovering the inherent helpfulness of drum looping in filling out a solo effort, Davidson hunkered down in his basement and created a raw sound — albeit one that he freely admits didn’t exactly have people tripping over themselves to get a piece of. However, he continued to refine his timing, playing and overall sound until it began to resemble the version of Feral Children that grabbed me by the ears a few weeks back.

“In 2008,” says Davidson, “I started touring and having a lot of interest from bigger Canadian cities, such as Edmonton and Vancouver. I did three solo tours as Feral Children, [but] I started thinking about it being a band after I opened up for [instrumental trio] Torngat from Montreal, which has a member from The Arcade Fire. [They] assured me that what I was doing was great, but also suggested that I get some people to back me up.

“I took the advice for obvious reasons, dreamed up the people whom I would most like to do it with and asked them. To my surprise, it came together really fast and had so much force and energy. Will [Kaufhold, formerly of No Birds] is and has been a huge influence on me in many ways, as has [ex-No Birds and Parades Against Parades musician] Nathan Young. The band makes Feral Children much more than I ever imagined my music could be.”

With Sarah Marie Charters filling out the roster, Feral Children went from a basement project to a full-blown band. Their latest release, Currents, has been charting all over Canada, including hitting number two on Edmonton’s CJSR.

Halfway between Dexedrine-snorting IDM and tripped out psych-rock, Feral Children create a gritty symphony of loop-laden electro-babble, coming across like a more paranoid-sounding Animal Collective (sans the African rhythms). Even more impressive is the way they sidestep the often pretentious nature of music that’s more on the avant-garde side: sure, they aren’t afraid to colour outside the lines — whether that means ugly or beautiful — but they’re also not afraid to embrace good hooks and recognizable song structures. It makes them weird, unique and yet surprisingly accessible — which is much harder than just making weird for the sake of weird.

“[Feral Children makes] noisy, drum-machine psychedelic searching for a.m. pop,” laughs Davidson. “I sing about the sun and the moon and drugs. As far as lyrics — well, this may sound pretentious or arrogant or whatever, but I’m always singing to a girl, always explaining my [own] and everybody else’s addiction to screwing up. I want everybody, including the women I love, to know that we’re all totally messed up — but that it’s totally okay to be.”

Keep your eyes peeled for a good club date with Feral Children in the future, but for now you can also see them at a more intimate venue — the Empyreal Building, just off Broadway on 10th (and home to the Weczeria restaurant, among other things) — with Vancouver’s Makeout Videotape.

“[The] shows are a blast and I literally prepare for them daily because this is what I want to do, and so it goes for the rest of the people in the band,” says Davidson. “To be honest, I know Feral Children doesn’t really sound like anyone, and that in itself is a key component of why we are so gosh-darn fun. We get lost in a psychedelic trance and rock out like we were all alone, while letting everybody else in on the secrets we’ve discovered. Just come out and listen.”
- Craig Silliphant - Planet S magazine


Discography

Hits and Improv - summer 2008 (cdr)

Currents - summer 2009 (cd)

In Awe EP - winter 2010 (free digital release)

singles "Everything is inside" and "Holy" - winter 2011 (free digital release)

Reverb 7" - spring 2011(leaning tree records)

Archives - 60 min cassette - spring 2011

self titled - November 4th 2011 (cd)

upcoming:

"uandi" on 7" compilation - Blood stains across the praries (Mammoth Cave records)

5 song ep

Photos

Bio

With a fixed gaze deep into the future, Feral Children come alive in the skin, they take hold and then break on through. Shifting from solo project to full blown rock band Feral Children is a strange and intense take on pop music filtered through the glorious tunnels of psychedelia, rock n roll, noise and electronica. Characterized by wild but precise croons, using sample and beat driven structures accentuated and carved by the use of live instruments while layering delay and reverb into transcending white noise bliss outs.
Feral Children is proud to have played with incredible bands such as Women, Frog Eyes, Bruce Peninsula, GOBBLE GOBBLE(Born Gold), Braids, Tonnstartsbandht, Grimes, Dirty Beaches and have also played Sled Island 10' and 11', Wyrd Fest I and III, The Ness Creek festival and The Mammoth Cave festival.
Feral Children's last two full-length albums have charted high and frequently on community radio across Canada.